The 2019 Jetta in some ways features a traditional no-frills setup on the interior, with a few attractive standout features to spice things up. Exterior design is also greatly improved, with sharp lines and, on the R Line, a unique grille and badging. Rear seats fold down to increase storage space, but trunk is still a bit small for the segment.
LED headlights, taillights and daytime running lights are standard, there are power adjustable side mirrors, and an optional panoramic sunroof.
HOW’S THE RIDE?
The 2019 Jetta features a 1.4-liter turbo, turbo 4-cylinder engine; with six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmissions offered. It’s a front-wheel drive vehicle only.
Numbers come in at 147 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, which are impressive vs. the compact competition (Focus/Mazda3/Civic/Corolla/Sentra/etc.)
The engine on the Jetta is a bit noisy, but ride is responsive to driver input, fast and handles well. It’s not a hot rod by anyone’s definition, but at the same time is on the faster side of the compact class and offers decent acceleration. An eco driving mode is available if you want to maximize fuel mileage.
Not always a leader in tech in the past, VW and Jetta have stepped up their game for 2019 with new features like the Virtual Cockpit being offered on higher trims. A trickle-down from the Audi brand, this system replaces the traditional look of the gauges with a 10.3-inch screen in the instrument cluster that is controlled via the steering wheel. This screen is especially helpful when using navigation.
It also offers access to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto for full smartphone connectivity, and you can choose a 400-watt Beats audio system. Bluetooth connectivity allows for streaming music and calls through to the vehicle.
Standard features include: 3-point safety belts; 6 airbags; Anti-lock brakes; Hydraulic brake assist; Electronic stability control; Rear view camera system; Tire pressure monitoring; and dual zone climate control.
Other safety options include forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking (front assist), blind spot monitoring with rear traffic alert and more. These are features not always offered on compact rides, so it’s good to see them offered on the Jetta.
Keyless access and push-button start are helpful, and the touchscreen on the infotainment system is large enough and easy to use. One nice touch is that when you approach the touchscreen, it senses your finger and pops up menu options.
Official fuel mileage numbers on the 2019 Jetta are 30 city/40 highway/34 combined, which on paper would be among the best in class. But during my time with the Jetta, I was below the low end of that, averaging about 28 mpg. While these are still respectable numbers for the class, other compact competitors have topped these numbers in my real-world testing.
My test vehicle, an R-Line trim level, came in just under $24,000; Base price starts under $19K. This is a reasonable price for the segment, especially when considering the tech advancements for 2019, though the highest-end Jettas can approach $27K.
The rebooted 2019 VW Jetta looks sharp, sees strong tech updates, and is among the most fun-to-drive vehicles that those seeking a compact ride can consider.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.